Cardinals Set to Battle `Kats in Huntsville

GO CARDINALS Lamar travels to Huntsville, Texas for Southland showdown.
Lamar travels to Huntsville, Texas for Southland showdown.

Feb. 6, 2014

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BEAUMONT, Texas - With only one game on the schedule this week, the Lamar Cardinals return to the court Saturday when they travel to Huntsville, Texas to take on Sam Houston State (16-6/8-2 Southland). The Bearkats are second in the Southland a game and a half out of first, while the Cardinals enter the week 12th with a 2-8 (.200) league record. SHSU has won three straight games, and seven of their last eight with the lone loss being an 11-point setback at Incarnate Word.

The Last Meeting
Sam Houston State78
February 9, 2013
Huntsville, Texas
Sam Houston rolls to 78-40 victory
HUNTSVILLE - Sam Houston State opened the second half 12-of-14 from the field Saturday afternoon at Johnson Coliseum to propel the Bearkats to a dominating 78-40 victory over Lamar in Southland Conference men's basketball action.

Lamar is trying to make a late climb up the Southland standings, entering the week having split their last four games, and looking to erase the memory of last week's setback to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Cardinals struggled in the opening half knocking down only four field goals. Despite their opening-half shooting woes Lamar settled down during half time and opened the second half on a 9-0 run. The Cards pushed their run to 14-2 and quickly erased a double-digit deficit and rallied back to within three points of the Islanders. The run ended on a Jake Kocher three-point field goal. Following the triple, the Islanders answered with a run of their own and Lamar was never able to overtake their guests.

Despite their opening-half struggles, Lamar didn't lose its poise coming back to shoot 50 percent in the second half, and the Cards did that with no offensive production from leading scorer Nimrod Hilliard. It was the first time all season that Hilliard failed to score, and only the second time this year he failed to reach double digits.

The Bearkats are one of the league's more high-powered offenses averaging 79 points per game. Although Lamar has seen its offensive production drop over the course of the past four games, its defense has taken center stage. During that time, Lamar is holding opponents to fewer than 62 points per game, and three of those opponents failed to reach the 60-point barrier.

Lamar has four players averaging double figures in points, but are coming off a game where it failed to have at least two players in double figures for the first time this season. Hilliard is among the league leaders averaging better than 14 points per game. Senior Amos Wilson (11.4 ppg), sophomore Rhon Mitchell (10.2 ppg) and junior Donovan Ross (10.1 ppg) join Hilliard in double figures.

Junior Anthony Holliday has provided Lamar with another viable option offensively over the course of the three games. The Los Angeles native is averaging nearly 11 points and two assists in those games.

Jabari Peters paces the Bearkats' offense. He is one of three Sam Houston players averaging 10 points or better. Peters is averaging 13.3 points per game, while Kaheem Ransom is just under 13 per game. Paul Baxter rounds out the team's top three scorers averaging 10 a game.

Saturday's contest will be the 57th meeting between the two schools with Lamar holding a 29-27 (.518) advantage, but the Bearkats have won five of the previous six. Lamar is 9-16 (.360) against the Bearkats in Huntsville.

Following Saturday, the Cards will close with five of their final seven games in Beaumont. The Cardinals last remaining road trip will be to Oral Roberts (Feb. 27th) and Central Arkansas (March 1st).

Saturday's game will be the first time since the season opener that Lamar will hit the road for just one game. The Cardinals return to the Montagne Center Thursday, Feb. 13th against league-leading Stephen F. Austin.




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